Commissioner Barr Asks for Kyle’s Resignation as Forest Preserve President

Commissioner Barr Asks for Kyle’s Resignation as Forest Preserve President

It is my understanding that the Downstate Forest Preserve District Act bestows executive power on the President of the Forest Preserve, which entitles him to act unilaterally without Board Consent, which could include unwarranted termination of certain staff. This means that the staff of the Forest Preserve does not work for the Board, rather the President himself.

It was clear to me from comments and body language of staff during the June 11th Forest Preserve Board meeting where Civil War Days cancellation was discussed, that staff felt immeasurable pressure from their boss to go along with a short sighted and irresponsible decision to cancel an event without consent, or even notification of the Board, embroiling the Forest Preserve District in a major controversy, putting its reputation in direct harm’s way.

I believe the professionalism, knowledge and work ethic of our Forest Preserve Staff is incomparable, and needs to be defended and protected.

Based on new information released by the Sheriff’s Department this morning that no credible threats to safety existed, and it appearing more likely that safety concerns were exaggerated in an attempt to mislead the public to subsequently cancel Civil War Days, I make the following requests:

1. Governor JB Pritzker sign the bill on his desk that would allow for the removal of a Forest Preserve President with 4/5ths vote of the rest of the Board.

2. Legislators in Springfield to draft legislation that would amend the Downstate Forest Preserve District Act to remove executive authority from the Board President, and bestow power to the full Board, and not one person who is not elected to that position by the public.

3. I ask my fellow Board Commissioners to join me in requesting the immediate resignation of Board President Angelo Kyle before any more damage can be done to the Forest Preserve District and that we can begin the process of healing and repairing the Forest Preserve’s image to the public.

4. An immediate reinstatement of Civil War Days at Lakewood Forest Preserve, if it is not already too late.

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